Emily Lam

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Tuesday, July 08, 2014

Careful Shots Make for Less Digital Clutter

There's only so much clutter in a person's physical place before it becomes too much, before it becomes unproductive, before it becomes impossible to hide. Digital clutter though is a lot easier to hide and there seems to be an exponentially growing amount of cheap space for it, Moore's Law.  In that manner, it's super easy and even encouraged to ignore digital clutter.

Take photographs for example. I usually take two shots of a particular composition that are pretty much identical. And then another set of photographs of the same subject but at a slightly different angle. And I do this with the good intention of going back at a later time and deleting the lesser photo. But there is no lesser photo when the photos are nearly identical! Photo 1 does lighting better, photo 2 does composition better, and photo 3 image quality better but none of them do all three best.

What I end up with is a massive stockpile of photos that are a burden to go through. A stockpile of photos that grows and becomes unsearchable if not categorized. The cycle continues as I ignore the photos. And when I do get to the photos, it's a weary and tedious process. which is not what I want. I want to be able to quickly look through my photos and see the different views. I don't want to ignore them and think of them as a hassle.

So I have a new goal. My new goal is to take a little bit more time during the initial shooting of a photo so that the work afterwards is easier, to take one or two shots of a composition and then to purge immediately afterwards what I don't deem worthy. This way I don't have photos sitting in memory cards, taking up space, waiting to be reviewed.

I think our societies lack of care in digital clutter is a little unnerving. It goes back to the quality over quantity balancing act. It is becoming increasing harder to consume a high level of media in the digital world. Search engines are trying their best to filter the bad content and are a sort of work around for digital clutter; it makes it easier to sort through backlogs of files. But there's just too much. And as the content grows, we lose contact with each other. As we crunch through information on our feeds and consume more and more than ever about each other passively, we make less of an effort to talk and connect with other people. We're losing that authentic human touch.